Tools for beginner herbalists

There is a lot of herbal information online which is amazing! We are living in a beautiful time when it is becoming easier to find information on herbs. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation as well. My hope is that more people find good quality information and that accurate sources of herbal knowledge are more popular than websites just trying to make a quick buck off of the wellness industry. I have this post here which includes herbal websites, blogs, schools, and resources for people who need it. This post is updated a couple of times a year. Save it and subscribe to the newsletter to be notified of new herbal resources.

Resources for absolute beginners 

Want training? Here are some herbal schools and teachers

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Click here to learn more about Matthew Wood’s course on Shamanic Herbalism

 

Herbal blogs and websites 

There are many herbal blogs, but not all of them are by qualified herbalists! Be selective with your online resources. Here are some of my favorites:

General tips for gathering info and getting started

  •  Check out local plant societies to see what activities they have planned. Some of them offer free plant walks that will help you to get to know your local plants. Check Facebook and Meetup for local plant medicine groups.
  • Become a student member of the American Herbalists Guild if you really are an herbal student. They have tons of resources.
  •  Start experimenting with your (safe) local weeds first. For many of you, this means pine, dandelion, plantain, violet leaf, and ground ivy. Do not buy expensive and/or at risk plants, you really do not need them.
  •  Get your warnings and safety information from reputable books and herbalists not social media. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from people who have years and years of clinical herbal experience but even if you do not have that same opportunity, you can still use discernment with where you get your information. I cannot stress this enough.
  •  Even though social media can be a bad place to get information, it can be a very good idea to follow reputable herbalists on Facebook. I have found so many great articles and resources this way because of what they share. It is also a good way to connect with other herbalists and stay up to date with what is going on in the herb industry.
  •  Keep a few materia medica books on hand to check for contraindications and safety instead. My go-to books for checking whether an herb is okay with me are located in the recommended books post above
  •  Pick 1 herb a month to really focus on. Keep in mind that you can do a lot with a few herbs, some of them have dozens of uses
  •  Learn about your herbs by tasting and using them, not just reading! Personal experience is more important than book knowledge (except when it comes to safety). If you are choosing to spend the month learning about calendula, make as many calendula based things as you can. Calendula teas, salves, lotions. What works and what doesn’t? Ask other more experienced herbalists how they use calendula and see if they have recipes they are willing to share.

Equipment

  • Check out the recommended books list above for books on medicine making and help with tools
  • Jars
  • Alcohol
  • Oils – like grapeseed, joboba, and almond
  • Vegetable glycerine
  • Funnels
  • Cheese cloth for straining herbs
  • Potato ricer to help with straining herbs
  • Muslin cloth to help with straining herbs
  • Kitchen scale
  • French press (easy way to make loose leaf tea)
  • Labels (never forget to label your herbs and herbal creations!)

Where to buy herbs and botanical medicine making supplies

Ideas of what to start making with herbs (recipes coming soon)

  • Bruise/injury salves
  • Bug sprays
  • Calming tinctures/teas
  • Digestive tinctures/teas
  • Pain liniments
  • Poultices

Other links

 

None of these statements or products have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This products and/or statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This is for educational purposes only and it is not meant to replace the care or advice of a medical professional in any way.